Numbers Game

Houston Lags Behind in 2020 Census Reporting

But check out Fort Bend County!

By Laura Furr Mericas May 4, 2020

About 47 percent of Houstonians filed their 2020 census surveys by May 3.

Mind if we take a break from COVID numbers for a few minutes and look to some other data? Reports through the weekend from the U.S. Census Bureau show that after about a month since the official Census Day, Houstonians have been slow to file their census surveys.

Okay, we didn't promise the data would be good news. But, hey, there’s an actionable, virtual way you can do something about it ... 

Of the 10 largest cities in the country, Houston ranked at a mediocre seventh place with a self response rate of 47.3 percent. To put that into Texas perspective: Houston had the lowest self-response rate out of the other large cities in the state. Dallas edged us out, ranking sixth with 48.6 percent reporting. San Antonio came in fourth by a rather significant margin, with 53 percent reporting. 

Austin doesn’t crack the top 10 cities in the U.S. by population, but would have still outpaced Houston and all of the other major metros in the state. Just over 55 percent of residents in the capital city have reported. 

The Census Bureau's self-response data is updated daily through May 31.

Texas, too, is falling behind the rest of the country. Just over half of the estimated population (51.2 percent) has reported, whereas about 57 percent of the country has filed their census info. Second only to California, however, about 6.2 million households in Texas have reported. So, while the percentages might be low, the raw numbers are working in our favor. Isn’t there a saying about that?

On a more micro-scale, Harris County is performing slightly better than the metro as a whole, with just over half of the population reporting. Fort Bend County—home to Sugar Land—has been one of the top reporting counties in the state. Here’s the breakdown of Houston-area counties stacked up against others in Texas:

  • 3rd—Fort Bend County, 63 percent reporting
  • 19th—Montgomery County, 55.5 percent reporting
  • 27th—Brazoria County, 52.8 percent reporting 
  • 40th—Harris County, 50.7 percent reporting
  • 46th—Galveston County, 49.6 percent reporting 
  • 64th—Austin County, 46.6 reporting 
  • 102nd—Waller County, 42.2 percent reporting
  • 104th—Chambers County, 42.1 percent reporting
  • 139th—Liberty County, 37 percent reporting 

There is still time for Houstonians to complete and file their census questionnaires (and maybe even outperform a few more metros) at Amid the coronavirus, the Census Bureau maintains that online, phone, and mailed self-responses will continue. The organization has resumed field operations in select cities this week—though not in any Texas cities.

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